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Franklin v. Social Security Administration

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

January 11, 2019

KATHRYN FRANKLIN PLAINTIFF
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         I. Procedures for filing Objections:

         This Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to District Judge J. Leon Holmes. You may file written objections to this Recommendation. If you file objections, they must be specific and must include the factual or legal basis for your objection.

         Your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Court Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation.

         If no objections are filed, Judge Holmes can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal questions of fact.

         II. Introduction:

         Plaintiff, Kathryn Franklin, applied for disability benefits on June 27, 2015, alleging a disability onset date of December 30, 2014 (Tr. at 11). After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied her application. (Tr. at 24). The Appeals Council denied her request for review. (Tr. at 1). The ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner, and Franklin has requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, this Court should affirm the decision of the Commissioner.

         III. The Commissioner's Decision:

         The ALJ found that Franklin had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of December 30, 2014. (Tr. at 14). The ALJ found, at Step Two of the sequential five-step analysis, that Franklin had the following medically determinable impairments: cervical muscle strain, lumbar back sprain, neck muscle spasms, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, obesity, and anxiety. (Tr. at 14).

         At Step Three, the ALJ determined that Franklin's impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment. Id. Before proceeding to Step Four, the ALJ determined that Franklin had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform sedentary work with restrictions: 1) she could only occasionally climb, stoop, kneel, crawl, and crouch; 2) she could only occasional balance and could not work around unprotected heights, ladders, or scaffolds; 3) she would be limited to only frequent reaching and handling; 4) she could perform unskilled work, where she could remember, understand, and follow concrete instructions and have superficial contact with supervisors, co-workers, and the public. (Tr. at 16).

         Based on that RFC, the ALJ determined that Franklin was able to perform past relevant work as a surveillance system monitor. (Tr. at 24). Based on that determination, the ALJ held that Franklin was not disabled. Id.

         IV. Discussion:

         A. Standard of Review The Court's role is to determine whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th Cir. 2000). “Substantial evidence” in this context means less than a preponderance but more than a scintilla. Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir. 2009). In other words, it is Aenough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the ALJ's decision." Id. (citation omitted). The Court must consider not only evidence that supports the Commissioner's decision, but also evidence that supports a contrary outcome. The Court cannot reverse the decision, however, Amerely ...


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